Introduction: A Mini Tambour Style Desk Clock

I made this mini tambour style clock at TechShop Menlo Park (

This is only my second DIY project, and it was super easy and fun to make.  I took the Wood Shop SBU class at TechShop, and that covered all the equipment I needed for this project.

Step 1: Materials I Used

I bought all the materials at Woodcraft, and think I only spent around $25 for everything I ended up using.  Here's what I bought:

1) A 4" x 4" block of wood (I used lacewood)
2) A package of sandpaper, assorted grits
3) A small clock insert with a silicon gasket (I did not make the clock myself)
4) Finish of your choice (I was planning to use the sprays in the picture, but I used tung oil instead)

Here are the tools I used that I found at TechShop:

1) A compass (or divider? I was not sure!)
2) A tape measure
3) A pencil
4) Forstner bits
4) A drill press
5) A vertical bandsaw

Step 2: Measure the Clock Insert

I started by using the compass to measure the radius of the back of the clock mechanism.  The clock that I purchased had a silicon gasket around the back.  I wanted to make sure it would not fit loosely (into the wood block), so I did not measure all the way to the outer edge of the silicon gasket.  I locked the compass into place so I could use it to draw the circle on the block of wood.

Step 3: Draw a Circle on Wood Block

I used the compass to trace a circle (the size of the back of the clock insert) on the center of the block.

Step 4: Make a Shallow Hole for the Clock Insert

I found that a forstner bit would be perfect for making a shallow hole.  I found one that was the same size as the circle I drew on the block, and drilled into the wood block (a half an inch deep) using a drill press.

Step 5: Creating the Tambour Design

I decided to go with a tambour style, so I used the compass again to  make a large circle (really about three fourths of a circle) for the top large curve of the design.  I also used the compass to make 2 smaller curves on each side (to complete the tambour style).  

Step 6: Cutting the Block of Wood

I used a vertical bandsaw to cut the curves out, and was sure to make plenty of relief cuts because it was a tricky curve.

Step 7: Sanding and Finishing

Finally, I used a dremel to smooth/sand the curves, and then sanded a little by hand.  I decided to go with a tung oil finish instead of the sprays that I purchased.   I applied 2 coats and let it dry completely, inserted the clock face, and voila!